Outlook on the web

outlook-on-the-web-interfaceOutlook on the web: a reader asks…

I use email from Microsoft, Outlook.com. I have a maddening problem though, it only shows me my inbox emails grouped together. I think these are called ‘conversations’. I’d prefer to have my emails just showing by date individually, not grouped together. I can’t find the control to change that, even looking online. They all say to look at the top-right of my window and there’s nothing there. Can you help?

After a little teasing out of the situation, it turns out that your Outlook.com view was set to display the reading pane. Unfortunately, showing the reading pane means that the control is not on the top-right of your window, It’s now moved to the top-middle. It always appears above your list of emails. The control you’re looking for is the word ‘filter’ with a downward facing caret to the right of it.


outlook-on-the-web-no-conversation-view-screenshotClick that and a menu will appear. Now move your cursor down the list till you hover it over the entry ‘Show as’ and another list will appear with two entries.

  1. Messages – this is the older style of viewing messages arranged by the date and time they arrived.
  2. Conversations – this is the newer style of viewing messages where they are grouped together so that you can see an entire conversation together.

Click on the Messages menu entry to select it and your inbox will change to show just a list of emails by date/time.

Unfortunately, Microsoft and most other software developers have moved to a very flat design style with less-obvious controls. Many of these controls used to have a look like a button that you could press, but are now just text or a plain icon or shape. It’s often difficult to know if something is clickable or not, and developers are often leaving out the tooltips that used to pop up and tell you what a control was – these popup tooltips were a great help to know what was a control and what wasn’t. It’s my hope that software developers will move on from this current style, and return to a style that is more obvious in the way it displays clickable controls.


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